Cruise on Galveston

Allure of the Seas

Ernesto Hernandez, Reporter

Galveston Island, famous for its 1900 storm, gorgeous seawall and tarry beaches, has witnessed its economy transformed by cruise ship lines as Galveston transitions from a busy international maritime destination to a cruise ship port.

Galveston used to have a vibrant, dynamic economy based on a variety of businesses like Lipton Tea and Farmer’s Copperworks and a busy, bustling port filled with container crane ships and grain ships from Europe. Gone are the cotton trains from the old Industrial Blvd., now Harborside Drive, and gone are the high paying longshoremen jobs that came with the busy port.

Replacing the old order at the port, the cruise ship industry has stepped in to fill the void. Cruise ships employ more than 3,000 people per port from cruise ships embarking from the island. Galveston went all in on the cruise ships by constructing a new terminal at a cost of $126 million dollars.

The Royal Caribbean line claims that the terminal will be more advanced than other ports in the continental U.S., worthy of docking the largest cruise ship in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, The Allure of the Seas, a ship that weighs more than 225,282 tons and able to hold 5,484 guests.

“The Port of Galveston is the only cruise homeport in Texas and the fourth most popular cruise port in the U.S.” said Cruise Lines International Association economic impact report.

A line up of cruises coming to the island next year is a lengthy list consisting of Allure of the Seas January-October, Adventure of the Seas January-May and in December, Radiance of The Seas January-April, Voyager of the seas May-December and Harmony of the Seas November-December, Disney and Princess cruise lines offer seasonal sailings from the port, and both The Disney and Ruby Princess will sail January-April, soon following behind is the Regal Princess set to sail November-December.

Norwegian Cruise Lines newest ship, the Prima, will visit Galveston for sailings in October, then homeport on the island beginning in December 2023.  She will be the first of six Project Leonardo-class ships in the NCL fleet.

“As the cruise industry continues its strong recovery from the peak of the pandemic the port of Galveston is expected to set new records in 2023.” said Kathy Thomas from Community Strategies LLC.